DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESPONSE TEAMS
1027 Madison Avenue
Paterson, New Jersey 07513
Phone: (973) 881-0725
Fax: (973) 881-0938
311 Market Street
Camden, New Jersey 08102
Phone: (856) 963-5668
Fax: (856) 964-4998
The Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT) program was state mandated in 2000 with the knowledge that victims of domestic violence are often isolated and trapped in the abusive relationship. Studies demonstrate that many victims of domestic violence are three times more likely to return to their abusers if they are provided with little or no support. Police officers provide protection to victims of domestic violence by arresting and processing the batterer, while DVRT volunteers help the victim to feel less isolated and alone. DVRT volunteers respond to the police department to provide emotional support, information on domestic violence, community resources and a safety plan. Teams are composed of trained citizens who respond to the police departments on an “on-call” basis. All volunteers go through a rigorous screening process followed by an intensive 40-hour training. Upon successful completion of the training, volunteers are able to speak to victims in a confidential nature. Additionally, individual supervision is provided to volunteers within 24-hours of their call-out. The goals of the Domestic Violence Response Teams are to:
-Decrease the emotional trauma experienced by victims by providing them with an opportunity to express her or his emotional response to the crisis and educating her or him about the dynamics of domestic violence.
-Increase a victim’s ability to make an educated decision about their options by increasing their awareness in regard to available community resources, legal options and understanding of the legal process.
-To increase the victim’s access to community resources by providing the victims with the necessary information to access available community resources and assisting them in contacting those resources.
The New Jersey Association on Correction is responsible for response teams in Passaic and Camden Counties and now operate in most police departments throughout the state. The implementation of the teams has proven invaluable in strengthening and diversifying victim’s support systems.